Criminal Cases On The Rise In Manicaland: Justice Makarau

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By Felix Matasva

CRIMINAL cases, including armed robberies, fraud among others, are on the rise in Manicaland province, judge of the Constitutional Court Justice Rita Makarau has revealed.

Justice Makarau said this Monday during the opening of the 2022 legal year at the Mutare High Court.

She said her findings on the escalation of criminal matters concur with statistics received from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

“As I was studying the statistics of different courts in Mutare, it struck me that the courts have more criminal cases than civil cases across the board,” Justice Makarau said.

She added: “My findings that the courts in Manicaland received more criminal matters than civil seems to be confirmed by figures from the ZRP which indicates that murders, rape by juveniles, armed robberies, fraud, assault to name a few are on the rise.

“I received a table from ZRP which indicates that for the year 2020, 66 murders were reported and for the year 2021 the number shot up to 83. In terms of rape by an adult 240 cases were reported in 2020 240 while 155 cases were reported in 2021.

“412 cases of rape by juveniles were recorded in 2020, and in 2021 they rose up to 421,” she said.

Justice Makarau raised deep concerns over the increase of robberies in the province during 2021 which amounted to 343 cases.

“173 reports of plain robberies were made in 2020 with the number rising to 286 in 2021. Twenty cases of robberies with a firearm were reported in 2020 while the number increased to 24 in 2021. Seventy-six cases of armed robberies using other weapons which are not firearms were reported in 2020 and the number decreased to 33 in 2021 which is a good gap,” she said.

Unlawful entry cases increased to 4 655 in 2021 from 4 193 cases in 2020, while 7 716 theft cases were recorded by the ZRP in 2020 with the number decreasing to 7 125 in 2021.

The theft of motor vehicles was at 255 cases in 2021 with the number decreasing to 171 in 2021, while stock theft cases also decreased to 1 365 from 1 687 reported in 2020.

However, cases of assault shot up to 5 652 in 2021 from 4 823 in 2020. Fraud cases in the province went up to 586 in 2021 from 243 in 2020.

However, Justice Makarau commended the courts in Mutare for showing impressive results in 2021.

“They are carrying seven cases into 2022 and seven cases are not a backlog by any definition,” she said, adding over the past three years, the Mutare High Court had managed to complete almost all cases filed with its registry.

She noted the Mutare High Court achieved a clearance rate of 99% in the criminal division and 97% in the civil division.

“Whichever way you look at it, this is a first-class performance for which the judges must be publicly applauded, especially in view of the fact that the Chief Justice will report today that the general performance of the high court in all stations put together was not as good in 2021 compared to 2020.

“The magistrate courts also performed very well with the regional court managing an 85% clearance rate and the provincial court achieving a 91% clearance rate in the criminal division,” she said.